A Miracle Shared

As the mob filed through the gate, almost everyone in the compound was awakened by the noise of loud voices. It was still dark out, but it sounded to Rachel like some sort of celebration was going on. Curious to see what had happened, she quickly got dressed and ran outside. As she entered the courtyard, she yelled to a brawling young guard who was passing by, "What has happened?"

"Jesus, the one who claims to be the Messiah, has been captured," he yelled back, "and Malchus’ ear has been cut off by a sword."

The near darkness covered the anguish that flushed Rachel's face. In horror, she ran to the gate where the rest of the guards were entering to see if she could find out any more news of Malchus. But no one was paying any attention to her, as the man they had captured had his hands tied behind his back and was being shoved through the gate by the officer and his men. When she looked at him, she felt sorry for him because he looked like a decent sort of a person, and they were treating him like a criminal.

When she finally asked one of the guards on the edge of the turmoil what was going on, he said, "We've arrested Jesus. Now, move aside." Rachel couldn't believe how rude some of the guards could be. Maybe their perceived importance of their job had gone to their heads. She was thankful Malchus never acted like that. After the guards finished passing by, the crowd began to thin out, but there was still no sign of Malchus.

While Rachel was peering over the wall to the right of the gate, one of Caiaphas's household servants closed the gate and told the guard standing nearby not to let anyone in who looked suspicious, since they were getting ready to bring the criminal named Jesus before Annas, Caiaphas's father-in-law. By this time, Rachel was beginning to get extremely anxious. Where was Malchus?

Just as she was getting up her courage to ask the guard by the gate about Malchus, a man with a kind voice approached her asking if she could possibly let in the man who was standing outside the gate. He introduced himself as one of Jesus’ disciples and said that he hoped that his friend could be present at the trial, if and when one was going to take place. Based on the kindness of the man asking, Rachel walked over to the guard and explained the situation and got permission to open up the gate.

The man outside the gate looked relieved to see that he would be allowed to enter and thanked Rachel when he came inside the gate. Rachel, curious about all that the other man had told her, asked him, "Are you one of Jesus’ disciples?"

"No," he said defensively, "I am not!"

Rachel, realizing that she must have hit a sore spot, shrugged her shoulders. She continued to look out into the dark shadows hoping to see Malchus. It wasn't long before she spotted a light from a lantern in the distance. As the light drew nearer, she could see that it was Malchus. Quickly, she opened the gate and rushed out to meet him.

Pressing her warm body against his, which was now chilled by the night air, she moved her small hands to both sides of his head. She turned his head back and forth, then held it centered. With her eyes looking directly up into his, she said, "Malchus, you have both ears!"

"I know, I know," he excitedly replied, "but a short time ago I didn't. One of Jesus' men had sliced off my right ear with his sword. You can't imagine the thoughts that were running through my head. I was so stunned. I just couldn't believe what had happened."

"But, Malchus, I don't understand," she said taking his right ear in both of her hands for further scrutiny.

"I don't really understand either, but this man that they call Jesus simply touched the place where my ear had been, and when he took his hand away, my ear was restored. I don't know if he healed it or some power inside of him healed it. All I know is that my ear was restored, and the pain is gone."

"Oh, I'm so happy for you, Malchus," she said as she gave him a quick hug. "Maybe you could come back with me to tell Mother. She has no idea what has happened tonight."

"Unfortunately," Malchus began, "I don't think now would be the best time. I really haven't been dismissed from my duty for the night as yet."

"Mother will be disappointed, but I'm sure she will understand when I explain to her."

"Maybe I will see her at breakfast in the morning," answered Malchus. "Otherwise, let's just plan to meet at our hideaway at sunset, and I'll tell you more about what happened." Rachel nodded in agreement. Malchus took her hand and squeezed it gently before joining the rest of the guards who were headed toward the courtyard to receive additional orders.

Greatly relieved, Rachel turned to walk back to her room, still feeling the tight squeeze of Malchus’ hand on hers. As she approached the living area where she and her mother stayed, she could see the shadow of her mother standing in the doorway. Rachel's pace quickened as she drew closer. Soon her mother was in clear view. "Mother, Malchus’ ear was cut off, but a miracle happened, and a man named Jesus was able to put it back on again."

"Rachel," her mother said as she walked through the doorway, "you are so excited. Why don't you sit down here on the bench and tell me all about it."

As Rachel sat down, she began to recount the events as Malchus had described them. As she talked, she realized just how much she cared for this gentile. Her feelings for him were deeper than she had ever imagined. "Mother, if anything had happened to Malchus, I would have been devastated."

Ruth, remembering for a moment the loss of her husband, said to Rachel that she too would have felt terrible if Malchus had been hurt. "As a matter of fact," she said, "it is getting harder and harder for me to think of him as a gentile friend and not as a son." After some more thought, she concluded rather resolutely, "The feelings of the heart don't always follow the strict Jewish law."

Rachel, satisfied with her mother's reflection, pulled back the covers on her bed. The hour was late, and both knew that they had a busy day ahead. Ruth cupped her hand around the lamp and blew it out. Mother and daughter soon fell asleep with the assurance that Malchus had returned safely and that Jehovah was truly in charge of their destinies.

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